EDGARD — The third time truly was a charm for the White Castle High School girls basketball team.
Skylar O’Bear scored a game-high 22 points to help power the Bulldogs to a 42-36 victory over district rival West St. John in a Class 1A quarterfinal game Thursday night.
“There were times when we messed up,” O’Bear said, “but I kept talking to my team and the coaches, telling them we could do this. We didn’t get down on ourselves.”
With the win, White Castle (22-11) advances to the LHSAA’s Girls Top 28 tournament for the first time since 2010. It also marked the second time in three games this season that the sixth-seeded Bulldogs knocked off No. 3 West St. John (26-6).
WCHS advances to play the winner of a 3 p.m. Saturday quarterfinal between No. 2 Vermilion Catholic and No. 7 St. Mary’s. The Bulldogs and the VCHS-St. Mary’s winner meet in a 7:45 p.m. Tuesday semifinal at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles.
Brooklyn Falcon finished with seven points and Shylar O’Bear added six for the winners. The Bulldogs, who won their only state title in girls basketball in 2005, limited WSJ’s all-state player, Maya Trench, to five points.
Trench scored 18 points in White Castle’s 36-35 win over West St. John at home earlier this month. The Rams ousted White Castle 53-32 in the first District 8-1A game that also was played in Edgard.
“We’re excited,” WCHS coach Tammy Pierce said. “We wanted this bad. All the credit goes to the girls. They kept their composure and executed the game plan. They kept telling (the coaches) to calm down because they had this.
“We slowed things down on offense and then ran when we needed to. And I thought we played great defense. The first time we played (West St. John), we made 25 percent of our shots. Tonight, we made 69 percent. That was huge too.”
White Castle outscored West St. John 9-2 in the second quarter to claim a 19-12 halftime lead. The Rams turned the tables with a 16-5 third-quarter run and led 28-24 going into the final quarter.
WCHS delivered in the fourth quarter by outscoring West St. John 16-8 to close out the win.